Samsung UE40F6800 TV Review
It might not have a built-in camera but it delivers where it counts
What is the Samsung UE40F6800?Whilst the 7 and 8 series are set apart from the rest of the Samsung pack, the 6 series is somewhat more nebulous and contains several models with slightly differing feature-sets and design. Based on price, the UE40F6800 being reviewed here sits at the top of the upper-middle tier and as such boasts most of the goodies present in the flagship series, including a bounty of Smart features, CMR processing and the 3D HyperReal Picture Engine so, as ever, there’s much to check out.
Design and ConnectionsWe’re not quite sure what to make of the F6800’s appearance. It certainly does, as advertised, come with a ‘Super Narrow Bezel’ but there’s quite a wide frame wrapped around it. OK, it’s less than 3cm and transparent but it still looks like a bit of a throwback to some of Samsung’s earlier designs. The ‘Branch’ style stand that sits beneath is actually a couple of angled chrome feet but they do look nice and reminiscent of the design of the F8000, only done on a budget, with the mid section cut out. Connectivity options are copious, although 3 of the 4 HDMI ports included are sideways pointing, and the other faces out, so not totally ideal for a super-tidy wall-mount. Elsewhere, there’s 3 USB, legacy video, headphone, LAN and aerial inputs plus there’s built in Wi-Fi as well as Wi-Fi direct for compatible mobile devices.
The UE40F6800 confirms its near top-tier status by shipping with two remote controls, the first of which is a rather declasse cut down, black plastic affair and the one Samsung would prefer you to use, in the touch pad controller which uses RF to connect and includes basic controls along with a touch pad. The one that comes with the F6800 is black, instead of silver, and we think it looks better for it. Call us old fashioned if you like. It still comes with a built-in microphone which is used for voice control and works quite well but we found ourselves using the standard version, more often than not.
The UE40F68000 comes with two pairs of RF 3D glasses that are basically the same as last year. They are extremely lightweight and there is very little tint to the lenses, which is good, but they don’t have any protection from ambient light and reflections getting in from the back and sides, which isn’t quite so good. In fact we gave up with them for that very reason and used some other compatible eyewear we happened to have around. The glasses provided with the F6800 use batteries but you can also buy an optional USB rechargeable version if you prefer.
MenusThe Picture menu offers a choice of four types of Viewing Mode - Standard, Natural, Dynamic and Movie. The latter is designed to approximate industry standards and thus it should offer the most accurate out-of-the-box setting. Both the Picture Mode and the Sound Mode can be accessed directly using the Tools button on the remote control. There are also all the usual basic controls that you would expect to find on any LED TV such as Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint. From the Picture menu, you can access sub menus for Picture Size, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options. You can also apply your calibrated picture mode to other inputs, although it doesn’t copy the white balance or colour space settings which kind of defeats the object.
Within the Advanced Settings sub-menu there is Dynamic Contrast which varies the Contrast on-the-fly and thus boosts the perceived dynamic range, Black Tone which is best left off as it crushes shadow detail, Flesh Tone, RGB Only Mode which allows you to see each of the three primary colours individually and is a useful for checking correct colour decoding, Expert Pattern provides a series of test patterns and Motion Lighting. In Movie mode most of these controls default to off which is good as we recommend that you leave them that way.
Within Advanced Settings there are also all the key calibration controls, starting with Gamma which globally adjusts gamma across the entire image. Then there's a choice of a two-point White Balance control or a ten-point White Balance control which will allow for very accurate calibration of the greyscale. Finally, there's an option called Colour Space which gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose Custom you have access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
Test ResultsMovie mode is always the closest to the industry standards with Samsung TVs and the F6800 proved no exception. In fact, the greyscale performance was excellent, prior to calibration with almost all Delta Errors below 3, at which point it’s very difficult for the human to perceive issues with a lack of neutrality. Gamma tracking was very good and should be within the realms of the F6800’s 10 point White Balance controls. Colours were also highly accurate for an out-of-the-box preset, with just a few luminance errors of any note. Again, dE’s are under 3 for the most part so the CMS will only need minor surgery to perfect matters.
Having started from such a solid platform, it was pretty much a routine task to align both greyscale and gamma perfectly, as we can see above. It was perhaps more straightforward, still, to pop all the colours in their boxes on the CIE Chart below and then jiggle the controls around to align luminances. The results at 100% are, again, so close to perfect as to make no difference.
The chart above shows that the F6800 has no issues in hitting the targets for full saturation but the one below shows how it does with less fully expressed tones. Whilst it’s not quite the picture of perfection as the 100% saturation results, it is nevertheless a fantastic performance with no real visible errors with actual world content.Samsung’s continued use of VA type panels, where most of the LED TV manufacturers now rely on IPS technology, sees their TVs maintain a clear advantage over them in this area of testing. On a full screen black pattern – prior to auto-dimming kicking in – the 40F6800 returned a reading of 0.035cd/m2 against a standardised peak white of 119.1, giving it an On/Off Contrast of 3402.86:1. The Samsung was similarly impressive with mixed content; with an averaged black level of 0.038cdm/2 against an averaged white of about 106 cd/m2, gives it an ANSI contrast of 2804:1. Screen uniformity was generally quite good but there was some obvious issues towards the corners with uneven light distribution which was especially noticeable in darker scenes.As is usual for a Samsung video product, the U40F6800 was excellent with critical picture processing elements. It was superb at deinterlacing as well as scaling of standard definition content, with clear and crisp reproduction of fine details and no unwanted ringing. The F6800 also had no issues detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadences correctly and, as long as the Auto2 Film Mode was selected, scrolling video text over film was also delivered perfectly. The quality of the video deinterlacing at 1080i50 was just as good as it was for standard definition and there were no apparent issues with 24p content.
By renaming an HDMI input (doesn’t matter which) to PC using the Tools button on the remote from the source selection screen, we were able to get input latency to around 33-34 milliseconds which is a very good performance and should mean most console (current gen) games lag by around a frame, or just over, which should be enough to satisfy most.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 84.8W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 77.5W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 114.8W
FeaturesDespite delivering the best Smart TV system last year, Samsung were clearly not content to sit on their laurels and they have made a number of improvements for 2013. The internet and app response times aren’t quite as quick in the F6800 as they are in the 7 & 8 series but it’s certainly no slouch. There’s also no built-in camera so no motion controls but you can live without them, belive us. Samsung has, this year, made it even easier to toggle between apps, online services and on-air TV, with a natty redesign. Since we’ve conducted a full investigation and review of Samsung’s 2013 Smart TV platform, there’s no point us re-treading old ground when you can feast your eyes upon it right here.
Samsung UE40F6800 Picture Quality 2DFor anyone considering the UE40F6800 as a potential cut-price alternative to the F7000 or F8000, the news is mostly good as this upper mid-tier model shares many of the same qualities as the top-end TVs. The F6800 is able to deliver very satisfying levels of contrast, although the dimming system is not as accomplished as the F8000, in particular, so it doesn’t quite have the impact of the flagship model but shows a clean pair of heels to any IPS based LED TV on the market – of which there are many. We can see form the Test Results Page (link at top of this page), that once calibrated the UE40F6800 is capable of supremely accurate colour accuracy and together with the totally neutral greyscale, produces images that are both bright and believable, although Samsung’s panels have a tendency to make things look quite ‘digitised’', it’s a pin-sharp look that many will adore.
As well as the positives it mimics from its more costly brethren, the F6800 also inherits a couple of the flaws; most noticeable amongst which is the inability to deal with quick changes in motion by objects on screen. We’ve been watching The Ashes (whenever the chance arose) and the numerous different replay cameras and changes in pace consistently caught the F6800 on the (long) hop so Samsung’s better equipped TVs remain not the first choice for sports fans. A mild dirty screen effect, which showed up on solid(ish), paler colours was also witnessed and the fact that it shows up very noticeably on pale green, also did the cricket coverage no favours. For most of the time, however, we were really impressed by what the F6800 is capable of. It’s not perfect but nothing is, and it does make a viable alternative to its stablemates, for those with no interest in a built in camera and can live without quadcore processing.
Samsung UE40F6800 Picture Quality 3DThe UE40F6800 is a pretty nifty 3D performer, if you can get over the fact that 40-inches doesn’t really cut it unless you sit within about 5 feet of the screen. The F6800 has brightness to spare to counter the dimming effect of the active shutter technology on the 3D eye-wear and crosstalk is kept to a minimum, even in faster scenes but the carried-over forced motion processing, in 3D, means that films can be given an unnatural look, at times. We’re also not keen on the supplied glasses as they let in too much light from the sides but at least there are alternative versions to choose from, albeit at further expenditure. The future of 3D is uncertain – some would say its doomed – but at least the F6800 will serve you well whilst there is still material to watch.
Samsung UE40F6800 Video Review
- Impressive blacks and dynamic range
- Excellent greyscale and colour out-of-the-box
- Reference greyscale and colour after calibration
- Excellent video processing
- Comprehensive calibration controls
- Quad-core processing
- Well designed and responsive menu system
- Reference Smart TV System
- Built-in WiFi
- Touch pad remote control
- Two pairs of 3D glasses
- Motion stutters in 2D
- Motion smoothing in 3D
- Some dirty screen effect
- Not sure about the design
Samsung UE40F6800 TV Review
We’re not totally sold on the design of the UE40F6800; the branch style stand is nice but the transparent frame looks a little outdated. Connectivity options are plentiful, with 4 HDMI ports and just about everything else you can think of, including built-in wifi-fi. The 6800 has sufficient status to qualify for being sent out of the factory with two remotes in the box – one is of a standard type but smaller than usual, whilst the other is both the touchpad and voice control enabled to make the incredible smart functionality that bit easier to use.
The F6800 has plenty going for it when it comes to producing fine pictures too. The excellent calibration controls allowed us to extract maximum accuracy from the panel and together with some superb video processing and impressive black levels helped deliver pictures with both punch and naturalness. Like the high-end TVs, the F6800 is tripped up by quick changes in on-screen pacing that leads to stuttering and owing to the nature of sports broadcasts, it was often visible with that. There was also a slight dirty screen effect which was most easily seen with panning over light colours but we’ve certainly seen far worse examples. The 3D delivery was also generally highly enjoyable, provided you can overcome the restrictions of a 40-inch panel. Obviously the larger screens in the series will provide a better 3D experience. Gamers should also be happy with the UE40F6800 for its low latency.
If you have either the Samsung F7000 or F8000 in your sights but you aren’t bothered about the built-in camera, then the F6800 makes a very fine alternative. It doesn’t quite have the impact of the higher-end TVs but it does do a lot right and is well worth checking out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £999.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality8
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money7
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